One Substance Painter to Unwrap and Export them all (with Displacement)

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  • Technology

Today is the very first release that the team ships entirely remotely. But thanks to our beloved beta testers, and all of you on Discord, on Twitter, Instagram, and more, we have felt constantly in touch with you. Substance doesn’t exist without your support, participation, loving criticism, and great sense of humor. Thank you, stay safe, and keep texturing.

We always want to put in your hands the best tool for the job, and we’re constantly hard at work hacking through the to-do list of extremely-urgent, nice-to-have, and wouldn’t-it-be-funny feature requests.

Today, Substance Painter takes a leap forward. You can do more with what you import in the tool. You can do more inside the tool. And you can do more outside of the tool with your creation.

This comes in the shape of a revamped exporter with new possibilities, new controls for UV unwrapping, improved bakers, Python scripting, and more. The full release note is right here.

Your art can go everywhere

We’ve always wanted to make sure that what you created in Substance Painter, you could always use anywhere. After all, everybody has their own workflow, from the more traditional to the custom stuff. With this in mind, we’ve rebuilt the texture exporter from the ground up for more flexibility and control over the export process. 

The new exporter gives you a lot of new options to customize your exported textures. You can choose your custom file format and bit depth. There are overrides per texture set or even per texture, as well as better feedback on what exactly is being exported. Check this out:

All our presets have been updated to match the most recent versions of your favorite renderer, and we’ve added new export presets, such as Maxwell. Check here our tutorial to help you learn how to use the new texture exporter.

Textures are not nearly all you can export, because now you can…

Export your mesh with UVs

So, you’ve imported a mesh in Substance Painter. It didn’t really have UVs, so you’ve used the “Automatic UV Unwrapping” feature. We added this feature last release and it’s getting a lot of positive vibes, so if you haven’t tried it yet, do! Feed it your weirdest meshes and see what happens!

First, you have more control over the UV unwrapping different steps: 

For instance, you can decide to only unwrap or only pack existing UVs. That can be useful if you already have quick UVs but want something a bit more optimized — or better unwrapped. 

And that’s not it! You can now export that mesh as an FBX file, keeping your original triangulation and scene hierarchy. This mesh can now flow from Substance Painter back into the pipeline without any data loss! See, here is our mesh again, back in Blender with its new UVs and everything else untouched:

The time spent painstakingly unwrapping your UVs by hand is (nearly) over.

Export your displaced mesh

It’s always something special when you can see the little nooks and crannies in a mesh: displacement and tesselation are often a major tool for detailing your art.

We’ve added the ability to export your mesh with displacement and tesselation. This is awesome for anyone who wishes to blur the frontier between texture and shaping, but also… It’s time to 3D print everything!

This is what the same art will look like, here in Blender.

Exporting a mesh is now a lot more exciting with these new features. Learn how to use them with this tutorial.

Raytracing bakers are the stuff of legends

You may remember last summer, we had massively improved the bakers. We’d even worked on a study of just how fast these bakers had become, and our answer was “lightning fast” (up to 99% faster!).

But we can always do better. And so, better we did. Today, a whole new Curvature baker lands in Substance Painter. Get your Smart Materials to look just right even faster: it’s RTX accelerated and takes only a couple of seconds with the right GPU! 

You can use the new curvature baker with your high-poly mesh as well! Here is a comparison of the former Curvature baker and its newest version:

The Ambient Occlusion baker, too, gets a great improvement, with better default settings and a new Ground Plane option, as you can see here:

You want more? We give you control.

Because we want you to have all the flexibility you want, and because you’ve requested a Python API, we’ve added one. This new Python API will be the path forward for scripting in Substance Painter, giving much broader capabilities for plugins and scripts.

If you prefer Javascript, don’t worry: the API remains available and functional, and your existing plugins are safe!

And how about more content?

Decals have landed in Substance Source! They’re specifically tailored for Substance Painter, so you can start adding some serious parametric details on your assets, or cool tags:

An automatic placement, modifiers, everything is here to make sure your decals look awesome on your asset. If you want some help to learn how to use them, here’s a tutorial. And if you want more decals, we’ve just released 130 of them in Substance Source!

The Substance Source icon is leaving Substance Painter! You can directly send your Source materials, atlases and decals in Substance Painter via the launcher.

And here is the little cyberpunk scene we’ve used in this article, and worked on with all those new features:

Artwork by Casimir Perez, model by KitBash3d models

The main artwork for this release, and your new Substance Painter splashscreen, is a creation by Peter Zoppi. Find it on ArtStation here.

An update on UDIMs

The Substance Painter UDIMs beta is currently being tested by users, improved, and worked on by the team. Everyday brings it closer to release, but we’re not quite there yet.

Livestreams schedule

Jeryce Dianingana loves to learn and share all about art from all parts of Africa. With the Ndebele bust, he created an hommage to Esther Mahlangu and the Ndebele tribal art, as well as beautiful masks from all over Africa… And his imagination! Learn how to carve and paint wood in Substance Painter.

William Ruhlig won the general prize of Meet MAT 2: the 3D texturing contest, with the cutest scientist penguin. He recently joined Wes McDermott to tell us the full story of how someone who hadn’t used Substance all that much ended up winning the contest!

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